KZN paddlers to ‘Olympics’
LOCAL paddlers have set their sights on the Youth Olympics.
Three local 15-year-olds — Kwanda Mzolo from Lembethe Development Canoe Club at Nagle Dam, Lizanne Conradie from Epworth and Pierre van der Westhuyzen from Michaelhouse — have spent the past week in a chilly Barcelona at the canoeing qualification event for the Youth Olympics in Argentina later this year.
Having topped the African continental standings in both their events, Van der Westhuyzen and Conradie are both almost certain to qualify when the International Canoe Federation announce the results later this week.
Mzolo had a misshap in his final event, but is still in with a chance as the top two male slots are taken from Africa and his closest competitor had a similar problem.
Kim Pople, Canoeing SA president and manager of the team to Barcelona, said South Africa can leave the competition knowing they can be proud of their achievements.
“Once the ICF confirm the qualifying slots this week, we should have both Lizzy and Pierre qualifying to attend the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in October, but we will await official announcements. If that is the case, five months of hard work lies ahead, but they know exactly what is required from them and they will be ready.”
The canoeing at the youth event consists of a combination of head-to-head sprints on a cross-over circular course and a head-to-head slalom obstacle race from a ramp launch.
Locally, 9 am this Saturday sees the Marathon Practice event at Beaulieu Dam near Richmond. More info is available at www.kncu.co.za and www.canoesa.co.za. — John Oliver.
Young paddlers (from left) Kwanda Mzolo, Lizanne Conradie and Pierre van der Westhuyzen at the Youth Olympics qualifiers in Barcelona.